114

Joe McPhee/Dominic Duval/ Jay Rosen: Trio X: Rapture

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Back in the early days of free jazz improvisation many musicians who chose to play multiple instruments were singled out as scapegoats by critics interested in discrediting the music. The logic (or illogic) behind these naysayers’ arguments posited that a division of energy and focus between instruments would necessarily result in decreased proficiency. Many of the music’s detractors claimed that the new sounds being explored by these musicians were the direct result of such assumed deficiency. Legends like Roland Kirk and Eric Dolphy were among the players who came under repeated fire and if Joe McPhee had been counted in their number no doubt he too would have suffered similar slings and arrows. Like Kirk and Dolphy, McPhee’s palette is filled with a diversity of instruments, and his towering abilities on each become readily apparent to the serious listener.

That being said, those looking for evidence of McPhee’s multi-instrumental prowess will be surprised by this disc. McPhee eschews his usual satchel of reeds and brass and concentrates only on saxophone. “Elegy” is an opening summons for solo bass, brief in duration, but long on ideas. Duval carries his improvisation into the lengthy and radical reading of the old spiritual “Lift Every Voice and Sing” blending together with Herlein’s piercing violin in a mutual display of high string harmonics. Similar harmonic artifices are employed during a duet between McPhee’s horn and Herlein’s wailing voice. Later violin and amplified bass sheathed in electronic overtones engage in still another conversation, elaborated by cascading cymbals and sulfurous sax. Rosen’s innumerable percussive inventions provide the propulsive undercurrent that prevents the music from flagging in its own intricacies. Herlien is definitely the wild card here and her contributions take Trio X in directions previously unexplored by these three masters of the unexpected. The piece expands and contracts with glorious uncertainty for nearly fifty minutes and the three find a staggering variety of ways to interact across its duration. The far shorter “Rapture” is an extended exercise in whistling microtones.

Though the session was recorded live at the Knitting Factory, the audience in attendance is strangely absent for most of the piece only choosing to erupt boisterously at the close. This disc is easily recommended to both long time McPhee fans and neophytes interested in learning what all the excitement surrounding the man is really about. It could also serve as a final nail in the coffin for those fusty critics mentioned earlier who argued so adamantly against the merits of mulit-instrumentalism.

Track Listing: Elegy: Upon Mourning, Lift Every Voice and Sing, Rapture.

Recorded: December 28, 1998, The Knitting Factory, New York City, NY.

Available through Cadence/NorthCountry Distributors (www.cadencebuilding.com)

Personnel: Joe McPhee- saxophone, Jay Rosen- drums, Dominic Duval- double bass, live electronics, Rosi Hertlein- violin, voice.

| Record Label: Cadence Jazz Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Rings" CD/LP/Track Review Rings
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "As The Wind" CD/LP/Track Review As The Wind
by John Eyles
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "The Pauper And The Magician" CD/LP/Track Review The Pauper And The Magician
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "The Rhythm Method" CD/LP/Track Review The Rhythm Method
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Groove Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Lowdown Hoedown" CD/LP/Track Review Lowdown Hoedown
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 18, 2017
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!